Research has shown that vitamin D may help to prevent and treat prostate cancer (1,2) and diabetes (3) and to treat so-called autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus and graft rejection (4). Vitamin D may also strengthen bones, and can suppress a person's overactive immunity by stopping the chemicals that call out human helper T cells from starting a reaction that attack a person's own body.
Animals given the active form of vitamin D accept skin grafts from other animals. People with rheumatoid arthritis suffer less redness and swelling in joints and have less osteoporosis when given vitamin D(4). Other studies have shown that lack of 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D increases a person's chances of suffering prostate cancer (2). Since large does of vitamin D weaken bones and cause kidney stones, drug companies are working feverishly to develop safer derivatives of vitamin D.
See Take Vitamin D Pills Only If You Have a Deficiency Vitamin D Deficiency is a Genetic Disease
1) Results of the Physicians Study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Francisco April 4, 2000.
2) AM Barreto, GG Schwartz, R Woodruff, SC Cramer. 5-hydroxyvitamin D-3, the prohormone of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3, inhibits the proliferation of primary prostatic epithelial cells.Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2000, Vol 9, Iss 3, pp 265-270. these findings support a potential role for vitamin D in the chemoprevention of prostate cancer.
3) J Lemire. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3 - a hormone with immunomodulatory properties. Zeitschrift Fur Rheumatologie, 2000, Vol 59, Suppl. 1, pp 24-27.Address: Lemire J, Univ Calif San Diego, Dept Pediat, Div Pediat Nephrol, 9500 Gilman Dr 0831, La Jolla,CA 92093 USA.
4) G Hein, P Oelzner. Vitamin D metabolites in rheumatoid arthritis: Results hypotheses - Consequences. Zeitschrift Fur Rheumatologie, 2000, Vol 59, Suppl. 1, pp 28-32.Address: Hein G, Klin Innere Med 4, Funkt Bereich Rheumatol Osteol, D-07747 Jena, GERMANY. The active vitamin D metabolite, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin DJ [1,25-(OH)(2)D-3], exerts immunosuppressive activity. At a cellular and molecular level, the hormone preferentially targets helper T cell activity (Th1) by inhibiting the secretion of both IL-2 and IFN-gamma by Th1 and by suppressing the secretion pro-Th1 cytokine IL-12 by antigen-presenting cells. The active metabolite further inhibits class II antigen expression and enhances suppressor;activity, In animal models of autoimmunity, 1,25-(OH)(2)D-3 prevents the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, reduces the incidence of diabetes, and attenuates murine lupus. The hormone also prolongs graft survival in animal models of transplantation.
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